Dr. Mark is a veterinarian. He has been working with dogs for more than 40 years.
Can You Compost Dog Poop?
Dog waste should be composted, not put into a septic tank. It heats up enough to destroy pathogens and provides nutrients that can be utilized in your yard and under your trees. Composting dog waste also keeps tons of material from being added to a landfill or sewer system that is already overwhelmed.
This article will explain how to correctly make a compost heap out of your dog's waste without buying all of those things other sites are trying to sell you.
It is unfortunate that since the introduction of Steve Solomon´s great Organic Gardeners Composting back in the 1980s, so many people have followed his suggestions without reasoning them out. Mr. Solomon—unaware of how to correctly compost dog stools to destroy parasites—recommended that dog waste not be added to compost. Since then, most articles recommend the same. For 15 years, there have been sites on the internet that claim to be “composting” dog waste but are actually proposing the construction of small sewage systems.
Yes, you can compost your pet´s poop.
This article is not about to teach you how to build a dog waste septic system. If you want to do that, you can go out and buy a barrel and then there are about a hundred other sites on the internet that will show you what to do. Sewage systems that require the purchase of large plastic containers and chemical inoculants are neither friendly to the environment nor friendly to your budget.
This article will tell you the benefits of correctly composting your dog´s stool and also tell you how to do it properly. If you have a cat, and you use biodegradable litter, her waste can be added also.
Why Bother Composting Dog Waste?
Each year, tons of dog stool are thrown into trash cans and end up in sanitary landfills. When dog waste is composted, it becomes a nutrient that will improve your yard and trees. When your soil is lacking in organic matter, no amount of chemical fertilizer you purchase is going to improve things the way you want. The compost you produce, with the material you already have on hand (dog waste), will improve things the way you want.
If you live in an apartment, I realize that this is not a viable option. You have nowhere to compost and wouldn’t have anything to do with the compost anyway.
Are there problems with using dog waste in compost?
There are some pathogens that can spread from dogs to humans. Most of the bacteria will die easily, and in The Humanure Handbook (Chapter 7, Worms and Disease), the author says that roundworms can survive for 90 days in a shady area.
The University of Minnesota did some research in this area and determined that in order to destroy harmful worm eggs your compost would need to exceed 165 degrees for five days. The University of Oregon ran tests and determined that a compost pile that reached 130 degrees and was turned five times (at three-day intervals) would no longer contain pathogens.
If you live in a suburb and only have a small space, you really need to build or buy a compost system. I have added a plan here and there are numerous videos available on YouTube to help you build a compost bin. If you need further instructions on how to utilize this composting system, you can purchase an e-book called Humanure Toilet Instruction Manual.
How Do I Compost Dog Waste the Right Way?
You do not need to buy a storage bin, you certainly do not need to buy a chemical to add to your compost mixture. The process is ridiculously simple.
- Mark the area where you will be composting. Some people will need to do it in a trash bin to save space, and if you have a smaller back yard this is the best way. If you need to save money find an old trash bin that someone is throwing out--just drill holes around the side and in the bottom of the trash bin and put it in the place where you want to make your compost. (If you have a larger yard you might want to build a compost bin out of old wood or pallets that you can get for free; if you live on a farm just make a pile and do not even bother building a structure to hold the compost.)
- When you pick up a shovel full of dog stool, cover it with a shovel full of carbon material like grass clippings. (Since the carbon: nitrogen ratio of dog stool is about 6:1—similar to chicken manure and much better than cow manure—you only need to add about one scoop of carbon material to cover two scoops of stool.) I have a friend who is a carpenter so I always have access to wood shavings; that is what I use. If you want to use grass clippings that is fine, and since they rot quickly they are even a better choice.
- Every few days (if you need a rigid schedule do it every Monday and Thursday) toss a shovel full of old compost on to the pile so that there will be beneficial bacteria to speed up the digestion. If you are starting out, just use dirt from your garden. If you have seen those other sites that tell you to buy a product and dump it on top of your compost, do not buy! Those "starter bacteria" are all found in dirt and you do not need to waste your money.
- Keep the pile moist; if you have fish add their water when you are cleaning out their tank.
- Optional: If you really want to produce high quality compost, add some worms. (This is called vermicomposting.) You will need to add fruit peelings and coffee grounds as an additional feed for the worms but they will also eat the dog stool. They will produce a high quality fertilizer. By the time the worms have consumed your dog stool compost you will have high quality humus that will contain no pathogens. There are many articles available on how to farm red worms and if you want to go this direction you really should read more. If you run into any that tell you not to use dog waste, they are wrong. They are repeating incorrect information.
An acquaintance of mine has an organic coffee plantation; he maintains all of the plants only on humus produced by his worms. If you have purchased organic coffee at Starbucks or your grocery store then you already use humus. If you use worms you will be able to produce your own.
If you are fecophobic, you can add dog waste in biodegradable bags to your compost heap. It is going to take many more years to return to soil if you use this method, and I certainly do not suggest trying to add worms as they will have nothing to feed on.
Will Medications in Dog Feces Affect Worms or Insects?
Some dogs are given a monthly topical flea control or now take an oral flea control. These medications work in several ways but most of them affect the nervous system of insects. Those that do not cause the insect´s exoskeleton to not form correctly.
Heartworm preventatives like Heartgard contain ivermectin, a chemical that could potentially affect worms, but the concentration is very small and would be unlikely to have any effect. Newer heartworm preventatives may have some effect.
If you are willing to spend the time to compost your dog´s stool, I hope that you use natural flea control instead of applying yet another chemical to your dog.
How to Use Dog Poop After Composting
I would not eat a teaspoonful of dog waste compost. Neither would I eat a teaspoonful of humanure compost, chicken manure compost, or even fresh dirt. If you have maintained a proper composting system, the product will have no pathogens, and I recommend it be used on your lawn, on ornamental bushes, and around your trees. I have about a dozen coconut and many banana trees that are always searching for additional nutrients. If you have fruit trees, a hedge, or a lawn, they will appreciate the compost and pay you back by flourishing.
The compost is ready to be used when it looks like regular soil. I cannot tell you an exact amount of time because it will vary depending on your environmental conditions. If you live in the northern US, your compost heap will not even heat up during the winter; here in the tropics (and with a healthy worm population working on my compost), my pile is usually ready to spread in about three months. I have compost piles in several areas and tend to leave it longer.
If you want to destroy our environment by selfishly throwing your dog´s stool into landfills, flushing it down the toilet, or (even worse) buy a product that freezes the feces before you pick it up just so that the task will be a little easier, perhaps you are not the type of person who should even be owning a dog.
Think about it.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
Questions & Answers
Question: I have had a puppy for two months now, and would like to compost its waste. What do you do about the smell? The trash can smells pretty bad when poop is tied up in disposal bags in it. Wouldn't the smell be worse if the poop were just loose in a compost pile? Also, in Indiana, I will probably have to use a bin, since a pile will be covered with snow in the winter.
Answer: As long as you use plenty of grass clippings to cover the dog stool each time you toss it on the compost, there is no smell. It does not stink like the stool in the trash because it is covered up and starts breaking down as soon as you add it to the compost.
I use wood shavings to cover my pile, and in your area, you will probably need to use leaves in the fall and winter.
I would not worry about the snow. The heat from the compost will probably melt the snow on top, and the moisture will leach into your compost. Just keep a bag or pile of leaves next to your compost pile or bin to throw on top of the stool as you add it.
Question: I have four and sometimes more dogs. They produce 2-3 lbs of waste daily, and are fed a primarily raw diet. Do I need to turn the compost pile? And if so, how often? Will I need any additional enzymes, or will grass clippings, leaves and dirt alone do it?
Answer: You do not need to add enzymes or other additives. The material that you add will have bacteria that will allow the compost to develop naturally.
Yes, you need to turn it a few times until it is digested. I usually wait until the compost bin is full and then turn the whole pile into my next bin. Do so again in a month or two (depending on how warm it is where you are at.)
Question: My dog poops mostly on walks, and I don't have a yard to compost in. How can I transport it to the composting location from where she's pooped to discard of my dog's waste responsibly?
Answer: Being responsible for an apartment dweller is difficult. You have to find out if the place that composts even accepts dog waste, as many do not. If they will accept it, the only suggestion I would have is to haul it there in a plastic bag (in the back of a car, or maybe in a little red wagon if the place is close). It is not a good solution, and certainly not going to be easy, but it is the only alternative.
Question: Can wood ashes be used as a carbon product when composting dog feces?
Answer: Ashes are just minerals that are left over after the carbon has been destroyed in the fire. They are great to add but should be layered on after you put down the dog feces and grass clippings or leaves (the carbon source).
Water will help the ashes mix into the compost. When your compost is full, and you are ready to turn it into the next pile, the wood ashes will be mixed in even more. Your compost will be great.
Question: I have 2 goats and 7 dogs. Can I use soiled hay/straw as brown matter?
Answer: Yes, if you toss the soiled straw on top of the dog feces each day your compost heap is going to be even better. I am not sure if you have much of an issue with flies where you live so you may need to toss another carbon material (like grass clippings) on top of the dirty straw if this is a problem for you.
Question: I have grass clippings from weekly mowing, but I also use wooden shavings from big box stores for my dogs and change it out regularly. Do I need sawdust type shavings or would these larger type of clippings also work? They are more like "chips", as each piece is typically one inch long by half and inch wide; will that work? Also would cedar chips be detrimental to the composting process?
Answer: I use wooden shavings too since I am in an area where people do not have lawns. (The ones I get are from a thickness planer, so it sounds similar to what you use.) They work fine, but take a little longer to break down than grass clippings. (They do not clump like grass clippings either so are actually easier to use in a compost heap.)
I have never used cedar chips but I see no reason why it would affect your compost negatively.
Question: My husband and I live in Central Oregon. We want to start a compost bin. We have two dogs and a cat, so there is plenty of poop around. However, we do not have a lawn or trees that lose their leaves. What else can we use? The trees we have are juniper.
Answer: Any carbon source can be used to cover your dog and cat waste. I recommend grass clippings since it rots quickly and is easy to use. The needles from your evergreens can be used too, but they take a lot more time to break down, so plan on leaving your compost bin for a lot longer before you can use the soil it will produce.
I use wood shavings in my compost since I do not have a lawn. (I have sheep that I let out each afternoon and they clip my lawn pretty close, so I never have to mow.) Are bales of straw available cheaply in your area after the wheat harvest? They also make a good cover for compost.
If you have any stables in your region, ask what they use on the floor of the stalls. (A lot of stables will even give it away, and as a bonus, it has a lot of horse manure mixed in. It does have to be hauled though so you have to drive a truck.)
Question: Could I follow this guide for composting dog waste if I wanted to set up this in a large scale for a shelter holding about 50-60 dogs?
Answer: Yes, but you will have to be sure that you have an adequate and consistent carbon source (like grass clippings or leaves). Some people keep a bale of straw next to the compost pile since it is available at all times.
If you do not cover the feces adequately each time it is added it will build up flies and will stink.
Question: I have considered this several times, but I live in Minnesota. Is there any issues you see or modifications you would make given that the compost bin will be frozen for several months of the year?
Answer: I think the main thing you will have to account for is the cold will make the digestion process last a lot longer. I start a compost pile about every 3 months; if I were in your area I would not want to do so more than once a year. Let the pile build so that it will heat up in the spring and summer and do not even think of using it until the compost appears to be digested dirt.
Question: You mention that it is bad for the environment to flush dog poop down the toilet. Why, then, do the EPA, NRDC and National Association of Clean Water Agencies recommend this method?
Answer: Compared to the enviornmental damage done by wrapping dog waste in plastic and adding it to an already overburdened landfill, flushing down a toilet is a better alternative. What happens though? The dog waste is added to an overburdened water treatment system, and it takes more resources to clean that water before it is pumped back into your home so that you can drink it.
Do your local environment a favor. Do not dump your dog waste in the trash and do not flush it into your toilet.
Question: Will dog compost work with a veggie patch?
Answer: That is up to you. Nothing in this world is 100% safe, so there is always the possibility that a dog that is infected with parasites could infect the compost pile, it could not heat up properly or be turned, and could be infected. If you are a normal healthy individual, there is going to be no problem even if you were to consume a viable roundworm egg.
If there are elderly people, children, or immunocompromised people eating in the vegetable patch though I think the dog compost should not be spread there. It is always okay to spread it under trees, and you can spread it on a flower garden too.
Question: We live in Southern Cal so we would probably have to go the trash can route. Do the lawn clippings used in composting have to be fresh? We don't mow the lawns every week, every 2 weeks, so I imagine we would have to stock pile some clippings before getting started. Also, do you have to turn the mixture as it composts in the trash can? If so, how often does the compost have to be turned and how long could we expect the composting process to take to be able to use this in the planters?
Answer: If you are using the trash can it is a good idea to keep a bale of straw next to your compost to add to keep your compost from clumping up. How often do you need to turn it? The more often the better, at least once a week, but if you do not turn it at all the compost will still work, just take longer. With a trash can, it will take about three to six months, depending on how warm your area is. (Here in the tropics it takes about 3 months, probably will not be much longer in southern Cal.)
Question: Can shredded paper be used as cover?
Answer: Certainly, shredded paper is a good carbon source but it may take a little longer to develop as soil depending on how fine the paper is shredded.
If this is office-type paper there is going to be no problems. If this is from newspapers you should remove the heavy printed inserts (the glossy pages) before use.
Question: In his book entitled "How to Start a Worm Bin" Henry Owens states not to use "dog or cat poop" that it is "toxic" and that "flea-killing meds can be especially toxic". I would think that the chemicals would have long since broken down, since flea meds need to be administered routinely or the dog is not protected. Would you speak to this?
Answer: People like Henry Owens are repeating stupid things they read from books and have no idea what is toxic. There is nothing wrong with using dog fecal material since, as you point out, any trace amount of chemical would have broken down in the months that the compost is decomposing. Even if there were a trace left in the feces, none of the flea preventatives are toxic to worms or lower worm fertility.
Question: I made a DIY dog composer out of a storage tote. Following directions from the pet project, I added Roebic septic treatment to jump-start the microbes. Unfortunately during the process of adding the septic starter my lovely dog bumped me and I fell in the hole, so the entire bottle of septic starter was added. The bottle says it is used to treat up to 500 gallons. I do not plan on using the compost at all. Should I be concerned?
Answer: I am not familiar with that brand because I never buy those septic starters. They are not necessary since they are only bacteria. Bacteria are everywhere, and when I start a compost heap I throw on a little soil (which, by the way, contains bacteria).
There is nothing wrong with that compost and you can use it when it is ready. That 500 gallon number means nothing as it is just a number made up by someone at the factory. No, you should not be concerned.
Question: My compost only gets afternoon sun (we want to hide it from full view of our patio so it’s behind a shed). Will this still work?
Answer: Sure. The heat that builds up and destroys the parasites is from the decomposition of organic materials and has nothing to do with the sun.
Make sure you turn it often enough and monitor the heat in the pile.
Question: Can you dispose of dog poop in your toilet?
Answer: Yes, and it is easy to do, ecologically irresponsible, and causes a heavy work load on the sewage system of the municipality in which you live.
This is no better than dumping your plastic bags full of dog poop into your landfill, and not a good thing to do.
Question: Can I use horse manure to throw on top of the compost instead of dirt ?
Answer: Sure, the horse manure is a good source of bacteria and another good nitrogen source. You still need to keep a pile of leaves, a bale of straw, or a pile of grass clippings next to the compost though to toss on after you add the horse manure.
Question: Is the dog compost bin attractive to rats?
Answer: No, unless you are adding another component that rats can eat, like bones, meat, and household garbage.
© 2012 Dr Mark
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on August 12, 2020:
Grace, I certainly would not recommend it. Foxes and raccoons, unlike our dogs, are heavily parasitized and much more likely to pass eggs in their stools. If you are going to do so, I would have a separate pile that would only used every two years (and only on flower beds, not the garden).
Grace on August 11, 2020:
I have foxes in my garden that poo everywhere. can I add their faeces to the compost? it has a lot of worms in it.... eeeeek
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on August 01, 2020:
amlacy---as far as I know there are no studies on this, but the amount of ivermectin and pyrantel pamoate in heartgard is very small and I do not think it would make any difference to a vermicomposter. The other newer heartworm preventatives are another matter, but I do not know of any universities that are looking into this.
amlacy75 on July 31, 2020:
Very helpful article. You touched on the impact of flea/tick medication on the ability to vermicompost dog waste but there would seem to be a more obvious issue with the common use of monthly heartworm medication (such as Heartguard), which are intended to kill other parasitic worms as well. I have seen conflicting things about these medications in turn killing vermicomposting worms used for dog waste. Any advice would he appreciated. Thanks.
Mona Sabalones Gonzalez from Philippines on June 28, 2020:
For so long I believed that dog poo isn't good for composting. Thanks to this article, I see that it can really contribute to our environment so long as it's done correctly. Good to know.
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on May 05, 2020:
Hi Cynthia thanks for reading. LGDs are good producers, arent they? You will have plenty of material for this project.
I am glad this article helped.
Cynthia Hoover from Newton, West Virginia on May 05, 2020:
Brilliant! I never considered composting dog waste. We have many livestock guardian dogs here at home so this will make good use of their waste. I only wish I had found this informative well written article sooner!
It never crossed my mind as an option, so now I feel a bit foolish for never trying!
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on April 11, 2020:
Best of luck with your new project, Hema!
Hema Anniel on April 11, 2020:
I had this thought of decomposing my dog’s poop for quite a long time. Could make time to research on net this Quarantine. Information put up here is of great guidance. I will start implementing n will surely Get back with my personal experience on it. Thanks a ton
Sarah on July 15, 2019:
Before you judge the edible chemical parasite control for dogs please keep in mind why they are used. I live in CT and we are a hotbed for Lyme. I have quite a few friends with the dibilitating disease and have had a dog with kidney damage because of it. I would rather give my pup medicine that will kill tiny disease carrying deer ticks than have her suffer through Lyme disease.
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on June 26, 2019:
Cynthia, there are a lot of biodegradable cat litters available. You just have to check around.
The problem with cat "dooky" is a parasite called toxoplasmosis. That parasite is the reason gardeners get upset about cats going in their garden, and moms get upset about cats going in their kid´s sandbox. It should be destroyed with composting, but just to be sure I would not use cat compost in the garden. It would be fine to use in the yard, around the trees, etc.
Thanks for taking the time to ask.
Cynthia Scott on June 26, 2019:
We're cat owners, so would appreciate a bit more info on composting cat waste. I don't recall seeing any kitty litter labelled biodegradable, so what do we look for? Are there any special differences in cat dooky (another poster's word, I love it) that would cause us to change any of your directions?
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on May 21, 2019:
The diet matters a lot too. When I am able to feed only raw, the feces is very dry and easy to clean up. When I have to use commercial food the stool is a mess so it is better to leave it a little longer and let the sun dry it out.
Thanks for stopping by.
Sherry Venegas from La Verne, CA on May 20, 2019:
This info helps. We have a slope that our dog uses, but the area hardly gets scooped up. I how feel perfectly comfortable picking up the sunbaked poop and tossing it in the compose bin.
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on May 05, 2019:
Pamela, that is a good idea but if I was using lime, and not wood ashes, I would want to have a soil test done to see if the pH changes are worth the extra cost.
If you are just spreading the compost around your flowers, it is probably not.
Wood ashes though, if free, are an excellet addition to improve the quality of your compost.
Pamela on May 04, 2019:
What about the addition of some barn lime to keep the poop from stinking and to hasten healthy rot? Barn lime sold at the local Tractor Supply, or Farm and Garden type store is inexpensive. Fancy pelleted garden lime can be quite expensive, so thats not what you want to use. Also, wood ashes can be used in place of barn lime.
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on August 31, 2018:
JS MysMan--wow, 200 dogs! That will be a lot of work, but can also be an excellent source. As far as flies, there is no problem as long as you cover the feces as soon as it is put down each day. You can use grass clippings, wood shavings, old leaves, straw, etc. If the shelter cannot obtain adequate grass clippings you can buy a few bales of straw and leave them next to the compost. Instruct the persons cleaning the pens to break open a flake of straw and spread it on the feces each time it is added.
One of your main problems will also be what to do with so much compost. There is a limit to how much can be added to a lawn, but if you also use vermicomposting you can give it away to the volunteers at the shelter to take home and spread under their trees.
Best of luck. Let me know if you have any questions I can help you with as you proceed with your admirable project.
JS MysMan on August 31, 2018:
I have been asked to assist a dog shelter (approx. 200 small to medium sized dogs) with a landscaping plan. I need to figure out a way to dispose of the dog poop in an environmentally friendly way. I am thinking of using the pile method and giving them three piles. One of new poop, one maturing and one ready. They are concerned about flies while the piles are maturing. What can be done to mitigate that?
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on May 29, 2018:
As far as the worms and the chickens, I cannot imagine there would be any problems. My chickens eat a lot worse, and eat the worms and beatles out of the stool from my dogs and livestock.
I am not sure how thick it can be, but when it rains or you water it the grass is going to be exposed so it will start growing through. I would think you would have to put 4 or 5 inches on top to create a problem.
Two months is great. I think you can let the dogs on there as soon as it moves down into the soil a bit, a week or so.
Good luck digging that next pit. Fun, huh?
bone2bwild on May 28, 2018:
Dr, Mark thanks sooo much! I left the mulch pit for two months before pulling it all out and putting it on the grass, so can the dogs go ahead have access? I saw your pic of the three pits, I only have enough room for 1 more and i will be digging that this week-great idea by the way, no down time :) . When putting it on the grass, (St. Augustine by the way) if I cover the top of the grass top with too much mulch, will it kills the grass? (seems like it will, so I will be careful not too). Your info is INVALUABLE!!! So glad I found your site!! So many said don't put in the poop!!!
Last questions (for now lol) Gave a friend with chickens a 5 gallon bucket with a bunch of worms-is it okay for her chickens to eat the worms?
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on May 28, 2018:
bone2bwild--how long ago did you stop adding feces before you took it out and spread it on the grass? If it had been several months, no problem as the parasite eggs, if any, would have all been destroyed. If you added it until the last day then there is more likelihood of there being parasite eggs in the compost, and the ground where you spread it has to be kept "dog free" even . There is controversy on how long, but at least several months.
I would stop worrying about wetting it. It will not heat up any more once spread out. The earthworms probably left plenty of egg packages in the compost that was left in the pit, so you will not need to add any later.
Not sure if that muck in the middle is heating up or not. I would spread it on plants where the dogs do not have access. A flower bed? I would not worry about the rocks.
It sounds like you have already done a great job. I am glad someone out there is thinking about the right thing to do!
bone2bwild on May 28, 2018:
I run a dog day care and created a 4' wide, 4' deep mulch pit in the ground. I have been filling and turning it for 1.5 years, with cuttings, dirt and poop. There were thousands of worms . Yesterday it was ready to empty. I put all of it on the grass yard areas and fenced off those areas so no dogs can get to them. Couple questions: Now that it is on the grass, keep it wet? How long until the dogs can play on it again? Was I supposed to wait for the worms to burrow back into the ground inside the mulch pit before putting on the grass? I also have a lot of gravel and rocks, and lots of the rocks and gravel ended up in the mulch pit-not gonna remove rocks and gravel form dogs poop lol is that a problem? I have my sink water running into the pit to keep it moist, but all the water kind of drops into a central area of the pit, so I have a lot of "black clay-like" goo-should this not be used? It looks and smells funny, not like the rest of the pit-that mulch looked and smelled amazing!
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on May 08, 2018:
Aaron, the parasite eggs, if there are any, would still be present for that month. As far as spreading, however, this is not possible. If you were to eat the compost before it was ready you could become infected.
What is the solution? Do not eat it. At the moment I have my compost piles in a low area of my garden. When it does rain, the water is not going to rise up to the level of my peanuts and sweet potatoes, much less to the height of my corn. Your idea of putting the compost pile where the excess runs to the river is excellent.
If your dogs are free from internal parasites this is not even an issue. All you have to do is let the pile warm up enough to destroy the bacteria in the feces. Time will also do this, and I have several piles so I always leave my compost unitl it is quite old anyway.
Thanks for reading. I appreciated your comments.
Aaron on May 08, 2018:
No comments for a while but great advice. We are trying to find a way to properly dispose of our dog waste. They can fine people in our town for left out dog waste even in your yard. We live close to rivers, beaches and the concern over parasites is their reason. They say to throw it out in our trash however. I see that as adding to a problem, it could just pollute water elsewhere. Also we compost anyway to reduce waste and what goes into landfills. Flushing would add to our septic which would pollute anyways, So we figured there must be a safe way to contain it, kill the parasites, and ultimately compost it so it's safe.
My only question and concern is composting with drainage holes, if it takes a month or longer to reach the temps of 130-165* to kill the parasites would that still be safe during that period or is there a risk of parasites spreading until they're destroyed? That's the only upside to the septic system I see is containment. So the main reason I want to compost is to prevent parasites from spreading, is that the best option for that?
We are planning a spot for this away from our food gardens, our normal compost pile, and where the water runs down to the river the best possible.
Liz Westwood from UK on April 09, 2018:
As we now have my daughter's chocolate labrador visiting occasionally, this makes for interesting reading.
Zachary Maresh on September 16, 2017:
As a pet owner in an apartment complex in Huntsville, Alabama, I am wondering how to properly compost my dog's waste. The only composting facilities are in TN and GA, and I do not know if they accept dog waste. Furthermore, the cost with properly transporting said waste makes that option infeasible. I suppose I will have to figure out via YouTube and other materials how to build my own very small anaerobic digestion device / composting apparatus. It is a pity that the majority of dog owners here just leave their poop on the grass, and that this will not likely change without a LOT of effort.
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on August 31, 2016:
Thanks for reading! Imagine all of those dogs up in Alaska. What a lot of poo.
Barbara Fitzgerald from Georgia on August 31, 2016:
I have a compost heap and plenty of poo - I I'm happy to give this a try. Thanks for the great hub - it makes sense to me!
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on November 05, 2012:
Thanks for your great comments. There are not nearly enough people cognizant of just how important this issue is. Most pet owners just think throwing it in the trash makes the problem go away!!!
Rule 56 on November 05, 2012:
Finally some sensible advice about composting pet poop. You're spot on. Healthy dogs don't produce diseased waste. Even if they did, the temperature and microbial competition in the compost pile will kill any pathogen-laden poop. Composting the waste is the only responsible way to dispose of it. Glad to see someone else out the advocating it.
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on October 20, 2012:
Thanks I set up my "featured hubs" a little differently, and am not sure that would work. I am thinking about changing it a little, though, so will keep this in mind.
Jesse Mugnier from Jersey on October 20, 2012:
No problem I'm glad I could help! Since posting this comment yesterday, I did a little experiment. I had my most popular hub as my first "featured" hub on my profile page. I took that down last night and put up one of my hubs that was not as popular and had the 'traffic failing' triangle next to it.
The result: My not as popular hub is no longer losing traffic and had more views. My most popular hub had a 'traffic failing' triangle, with not as many views as usual.... Might be a good idea to feature this hub if you really want more people to see it.
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on October 19, 2012:
Thanks for the tip. I just added five new tags with "garden" and also added some that have nothing to do with dog waste, like "how to compost". I appreciate you taking the time to help.
Jesse Mugnier from Jersey on October 19, 2012:
Hey DrMark, I just read this, and it is really interesting! I know we talked about tags, maybe you should include a tag about gardening somehow, considering you do mention that this is "a nutrient that will improve your yard and trees". Just a thought... :)
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on August 02, 2012:
No, anthrax sporulates. I think you can destroy the spores by warm heat but I would have to research it.
DoItForHer on August 02, 2012:
Interesting. What is the life stage of Anthrax that can survive for years in the soil? I thought that was the prion.
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on August 02, 2012:
Toxoplasmosis cysts should be destroyed just as easily as toxocara (roundworm) cysts.
No research has been done on prions, but I suppose that they would be very easy to kill in compost. Much easier than other organisms, in fact.
DoItForHer on August 01, 2012:
How well does that work on prions?
Depending on where you live and how your sewage system works, flushing cat dooky can transmit toxoplasmosis to other animals. Otters are especially susceptible.
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on July 31, 2012:
Hey wetnosedogs this seems tailor-made for your situation! I can only imagine how many bags of dog food you go through in a month.
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on July 31, 2012:
Hi Dirt Farmer! There are as many misconceptions about the use of dog poo as there are about the use of humanure. Even if you do not measure the temperature of your compost pile, turning it frequently should provide adequate mixture of any pathogenic organisms. Even if you do not want to turn it, using the dog waste compost as a worm bed will provide you plenty of nearly-sterile humus to use on your garden. EVEN if you don´t trust your worms, you can use the humus/compost on your lawn and hedges. And living in Maryland, your compost pile is going to be inactive during the winter so if I were you I would only harvest and utilize the humus twice a year (late spring and early fall).
Thanks for the comment Mary. I know my Maltese does not provide enough stool for a large heap but with my Pit Bull the situation is quite different. Leaving it in the yard is not good though because it attracts flies. If you collected it and threw it in a corner, then covered it with a little grass each day, in a few years there would be soil there and it would never smell nor draw flies. I realize it does not seem necessary but it is a better alternative.
wetnosedogs from Alabama on July 31, 2012:
Very interesting hub. Something I didn't know at all.
Jill Spencer from United States on July 31, 2012:
Geez. I don't know! Sometimes compost doesn't heat up enough to kill weed seeds, although it looks okay. Can I be certain my compost is hot enough to kill the pathogens in dog poo without taking the compost's temperature?
Mary Hyatt from Florida on July 31, 2012:
Wow! I just learned something new today. Thanks for all this great info. My miniature schnauzer poops about the size of a pencil, thank goodness. She has her very own private large yard. I just leave it there. Maybe I'm wrong.
I voted this UP, etc. and will share.
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on July 31, 2012:
I forgot to add, thanks for your visit! I want to get this message out to as many people as possible and was really disappointed at all the bad suggestions I saw on the internet. Thank you again for taking the time to read this.
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on July 31, 2012:
That is a much better way to dispose of it than a landfill, but even human waste that is sent to a sewage treatment plant is wasted (another pun!). I don´t know how big your yard is but I do know you utilize organic products; do your purchase chemical fertilizers for your lawn? Your Schnauzer´s waste could be used in place of those fertilizers and at the same time you would be decreasing the burden on your towns sewage treatment system.
Jaye Denman from Deep South, USA on July 31, 2012:
This is interesting, but since my dog uses our back yard for her potty place, I simply "scoop the poop" from the ground and flush it down the toilet in my bathroom. This eliminates (sorry about the pun) the need to toss it in the trash. Works for me.